Ukrainian refugees to be given free travel passes for Switzerland
Alliance SwissPass - the organisation that offers season tickets in Switzerland - has confirmed that Ukrainian refugees will be given access to public transport for free until the end of May, allowing for Ukrainians in Switzerland to move freely throughout the country.
Access to free travel in Switzerland streamlined for Ukrainian refugees
Previously, Alliance SwissPass had allowed free public transport for refugees to reach their asylum destination within Switzerland or abroad, but only after several checks and processes had been made at asylum centres by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM). This extra layer of bureaucracy meant a long delay between entering the country and receiving the pass, as asylum centres continue to be under pressure from the large number of refugees fleeing Ukraine. Any extra journeys made by refugees within Switzerland were then charged at the normal rate.
Now, the new rules essentially cut out the middle man. Instead of receiving travel passes through the SEM, emergency S-residence permits given to refugees, residence permits given temporarily before receiving an S-permit, or applications for an S-residence permit will all be treated as valid GA passes for free second class travel on buses, trams, trains and boats in all areas of Switzerland.
Free travel pass to allow refugees to settle in Switzerland
This change allows refugees to move freely between Swiss cities and cantons, as they get more settled, look for houses and apartments and look for jobs in Switzerland. The move was supported by the government and will be put into force in all travel regions, although bear in mind that the cost of travel in first-class coaches or travel outside Switzerland on French, Italian, Austrian or German public transport will not be covered by the pass.
The system will remain in place until May 31, 2022, although may be extended beyond that point should the need arise. For more information, including information in Ukrainian, check out the Alliance SwissPass website.